Agriculture Teacher: Education Requirements and Career Info
Agriculture teachers can be found in public schools, technical schools, adult and business education programs, colleges, universities and state-run farmer training programs. They teach a variety of subjects, such as horticulture, animal and plant science, agricultural chemicals and agricultural technology. Career requirements generally include a college degree, teacher licensure and specialty certification, and agricultural experience.
Requirements for agriculture teachers vary, but most states require at least a bachelor's degree for those wanting to work at the middle and high school levels. Typically, the degree should be in the field of agriculture with coursework in subjects like agricultural mechanics, forestry/wildlife management and agriculture management. Agriculture teachers who want to work in public schools also might have to finish a state-accredited teacher training program. Most states require teachers working in middle and high schools to obtain a teacher's license and receive certification in agriculture teaching.
Agriculture teachers who want to work on the college or professional level might have to complete a graduate education program. Some universities offer certificate programs in agricultural education for those who already possess a bachelor's degree in fields like agriculture, forestry or wildlife management. There also are master's programs in agricultural education, which include advanced study in areas such as agribusiness, agriculture ethics and agricultural technology. Master's programs in agriculture education often include teaching internships and may allow students to specialize in adult education, state extension programs or public education.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of middle school technical and career education teachers, including agriculture teachers, is expected to grow at a rate of 9% between 2010 and 2020, while little or no job growth is expected for high school vocational teachers. However, the National Association of Agricultural Educators indicated in 2013 that there was a nationwide shortage of educators specializing in agriculture, mainly at the high school level (www.naee.org).
In 2012, the BLS reported that the median income for technical and career education teachers working at the high school level was $55,160. Postsecondary-level teachers of agricultural sciences earned a median salary of $80,490 per year; those teaching in junior colleges earned lower wages, averaging $56,690 annually in 2012.
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